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New and traditional ways of exploring the globe, and your own backyard.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Saratoga Springs' Connection to "Twelve Years a Slave"

You can visit the gravestone of real-life Solomon Northup's father in Hudson Falls, NY - just about an hour from Troy or 40 minutes from Saratoga Springs.

You see, the man who went on to write a book about his time in slavery (which is now an acclaimed piece of literature transformed into an award winning movie) lived for a time in Hebron, NY, not far from the Vermont border and later moved to Saratoga Springs. He was married in Fort Edward and, when he was freed once again from slavery, he lived with family in Glens Falls, according to Wikipedia.

While I was unaware of the local ties  until this weekend, The Saratogian has written a few stories about the Capital District- Saratoga connection. For example, the third Sunday of July has been proclaimed Solomon Northup Day in Saratoga Springs.

You can see a historical marker about Northup in front of the Saratoga Springs Visitors Center on Broadway.

There are also a couple of references to Troy and other local communities in the film which has already won Best Motion Picture for a Drama at the Golden Globes.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

NYS Lifetime Sporting License

From the DEC website:
The Department of Motor Vehicles has teamed with DEC and NYS Parks to offer a new, convenient service for purchasers of DEC-issued Lifetime Sporting Licenses and Parks-issued Lifetime Empire Passport and Boater Safety Certificates. Your NYS DMV-issued photo document can now show evidence that you possess a one of these new NYS Adventure Licenses.

Basically - from what I understand of this - you can hunt and enjoy the outdoors (without hunting too) with this ID.

You can read more about it here.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Louisiana Creole Cooking Class in Delmar

There's an upcoming Creole Cooking Class. The details are below. I went to their Indian cooking class which was *great*. I would definitely recommend this cooking series put on by Diane Conroy-LaCivita with the International Center of the Capital Region.

Upcoming International Center Cooking Class - Louisiana Creole Cooking

On Thursday, February 6, 2014
from 6:00 - 8:00 PM, the International Center of the Capital Region in collaboration with Chef Yono Purnamo, Executive Chef Kenneth Ruud and Normanside Country Club will sponsor a hands-on workshop entitled  Louisiana Creole Cooking. The class will be instructed by 
Executive Chef Kenneth Ruud
at the Normanside Country Club in Delmar
and the menu will consist of Shrimp Remoulade, Shrimp and Crawfish Jambalaya, Chicken Creole and Bananas Foster. The cost per/person: $50. Please call ICCR at (518) 708-7608 to make a reservation. 

Cruise Fees

I was going to book it. I really was. And then a $22 one-night cruise from NYC became $113.

Sure, $113 per person for food, accommodations and entertainment is still a decent deal but it's a far cry from the advertised $22 special for the Norwegian Gem.

The deceptive devil in the details in this case is from the government taxes and fees which amount to $183, even though the cost for two people on the cruise is initially stated to be $44. So, the total for an interior cabin ends up being about $228. Again - that is *no* $22/person.

But, for people who might be interested in a one-night cruise on a luxurious cruise ship, there are trips leaving Jan. 10, Feb. 7, and March 7 from NYC. The itinerary includes leaving port at 6pm and then arriving back at shore again at 7am (which, to me, seems a bit early).

There are also two night cruises from NYC coming up Jan. 17 and Jan. 31.

Though, instead of paying $113 per person for a one-night cruise, I would recommend saving that and getting a longer one - to a warmer place.

NYC Airports Makeover no longer Delayed

In his State of the State address today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo talked about how the state will do renovations at JFK and LaGuardia.

He talked about how Vice President Joe Biden, in his recent visit, said that the state of the airports currently was not up to par and Cuomo firmly agreed.

Cuomo even pointed out today that LaGuardia was ranked as the worst airport in the U.S. (And JFK was ranked 4th worst.) He said this was a "disgrace" and "unacceptable". So, plans include the state making needed renovations and modernizing the facilities.

When New Jersey's Newark is ranked higher than New York (not much higher, mind you), it's just wrong. And, I agree, must change.

Update: LaGuardia will undergo a $3.6 Billion makeover

A Cruise Around the World

If you have 180 days and about $45,000 to spare, this might be the perfect trip for you: Oceania Cruises is offering a trans-Atlantic cruise around the world that starts in Miami and stops in 50 countries.

Sounds cool, right? And, honestly, the price is not bad at all considering what you'll be doing and where you'll be going.

I've seen 10-day trips go for $5,000 or more. This is 18 times as long and only 9 times the price. Um, I'm no mathematician but - if I had an extra $50,000 - I would so do this because it really does seem worth it.

When I saw it was "trans-Atlantic", I thought maybe they got the 50+ countries number by visiting a lot of European countries (which I'm not as interested in seeing since I've been to many already). And it does visit it's fair share of European ports - Oslo, Barcelona, Bergen, Amsterdam, Lisbon (which I still need to visit), Rome, Pisa, Bordeaux,etc. But there are some pretty exotic and unique ports of call as well - Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Phuket, Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Manila, Cape Town....until they eventually end up coming back via Curacao, Key West and drop anchor for the last time - after 180 days - in Miami.

Prices range from $45,000 to $120,000, for a (pretty awesome, I would hope) suite.

This cruise is from July 8, 2015 to January 4, 2016 on the Oceania Insignia.

You can find more information on the cruise here.